India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has said that India and the United States relationship run deep and strong and will continue to strive to make the lives of their citizens better and brighter.
“The edifice of India-US relation is built on the values of democracy, liberty, freedom, non-violence and rule of law,” Sandhu said while delivering the King Gandhi Lecture at Howard University.
Even before India gained independence, many of the leading lights of its freedom struggle, including Lala Lajpat Rai, Sarojini Naidu, Rabindranath Tagore, BR Ambedkar, among others, had visited several universities in the US, including Howard, Sandhu said.
We shared and shaped each others vision. You and I owe our allegiance to our respective Constitutions, which both start with 'We the People', he said.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered the Gandhi Memorial Lecture at Howard University in 1963 and 1966. Dr William Stuart Nelson, dean of the School of Religion and vice president for special projects at Howard University established Gandhi Memorial Lecture in 1958.
He was an exponent of the philosophy of nonviolence, who had been a friend of both Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. He had walked with both in protest marches.
In his address, Sandhu noted that the story of Howard was closely tied to America's history; he recalled how leaders from India and the US influenced the thoughts of each other and the impact it had in shaping the history of both countries.
The Ambassador also highlighted the concept of trusteeship, principle of non-violence, devotion to truth and journeys as key aspects of Gandhi's work. In his address, Sandhu underlined how Gandhi's principles have shaped India's vision for development and prosperity.
The pandemic has once again taught us, how interconnected we are, how intertwined, our lives are. World is one is not just a hashtag, but a reality today. Our future will depend on, how we treat each other, and work with each other today, he said.
As the largest and oldest democracies with pluralistic societies, India and the US continue to strive, to make the lives of our citizens better, and brighter, each day. While doing so, we also strive towards shaping a world which is healthier, and happier, Sandhu said.
India and Howard University are connected through visionary leader Howard Thurman, who visited India in 1935 on pilgrimage and met Mahatma Gandhi, and whose ideas influenced and shaped a generation of leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. Thurman was a dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University from 1932 to 1944.